In this day and age of media and technology, if your small business doesn’t have a social media strategy in place, you’re definitely at a disadvantage. It’s safe to say you’re missing out – but missing out on what, exactly? (Here is some stats for you.)
Networking opportunities: Retweeting or replying to other professionals within your industry is a great way to strike up a relationship.
Free promotion: Whenever you publish a social post, it shows up on your followers’ news feeds, timelines, dashboards, whatever – and the best part is that you don’t have to pay a dime for the privilege.
A powerful customer engagement tool: The casual, conversational environment of many social media sites makes this type of platform a great arena for bolstering customer engagement, as you can ask open-ended questions, post polls and respond to people’s comments.
Now that you’re up to speed on how establishing a social networking presence can help take your business to the next level, it’s time to figure out how to focus your social media strategy.
Pick the Right Social Media Platform
When you’re crafting your social media strategy and trying to decide which platform(s) would most benefit your business, consider the characteristics of each and the nature of the messaging you want to get across:
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, so the answer to the question of who uses it is essentially “Everyone.” If your business doesn’t have an account, create one as part of your social media strategy – stat!
Twitter is a “microblogging platform” that restricts all posts to 140 characters or fewer – but don’t despair, because you’re able to include URLs, videos and images. It’s great for engaging with customers and fellow professionals in your industry via replies, retweets and hashtags. Short, sweet and straight to the point.
Pinterest is a pinboarding site that allows users to both publish original content and “re-pin” others’ posts. When planning your social media strategy, bear in mind that Pinterest is heavily image-based. If your products are visual, this could be the social site for you.
Instagram is even more image-heavy than Pinterest, and groups similar posts together using hashtags. As well as publishing your own photos, you can also “re-gram” other people’s.
Vine is a highly visual social network of a different kind – instead of still images, it hosts short videos, which makes the platform perfect for product demos.
Now you know more about some of the key players, you can start thinking about which platform(s) would best fit your social media strategy, but don’t sign up for everything all at once. Pick one or two, like Facebook and Twitter, and get your feet wet as you GROW your strategy!
Anthony Ryan is the founder of anthonyryanmedia & be SUPER social! Professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He teaches WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and social media business etiquette to students each semester. Funny enough, he also teaches these to business owners.